The Hunter's Rede by FT McKinstry (The Chronicles Of Ealiron: Book 1)

Review by Jason McWhirter

The Hunter’s Rede by F.T. McKinstry follows Lorth, an Assassin with magical abilities, as he follows a trail to find the Mistress of Eusiron and along the way he stumbles across the death of his onetime friend and teacher, Icaros. The catalyst to this adventure starts with the strange magical appearance of a little boy, a boy that Lorth does not know, but one, with reasons unknown, has asked him travel to Eusiron to seek out the Mistress. His journey is a tumultuous ride of political intrigue, fights of magic and steel, where in the end he finds love, answers, and some peace.

The very beginning of the story grabbed me right away.. the lone assassin hiding in the forest surveying a military camp just after he used his skill to assassinate one of the officers. I enjoyed this author’s dialogue as it flowed well and didn’t slow the story down. F.T. McKinstry is a talented writer who writes in a very poetic style. Her use of similes and metaphors gives her work a unique feel. There were times when I read a line and thought, wow, that is an interesting way of describing that, one I would not have thought of but it worked so well. Some of her descriptions were beautiful, interesting, and unique all at the same time.

There were some things in the book that, at times, caused my interest to wane. Ironically, the very style I mentioned above sometimes was too overwhelming. For me, I want a book to flow well and feel effortless. There were spots where I loved her metaphors and descriptors, and other times where I felt it was too much, overused, and it hampered the flow. Analyzing poetic descriptions every couple of paragraphs can sometimes cause the mind to wander and not stay focused on topic, which happened to me on a handful of occasions. What I mean by this is there were times I felt she was overusing her talent of description through metaphors and it slowed the flow of the book down. I felt there were times where simple descriptive writing would have been more helpful.

The middle of the story didn’t grab me as much as the beginning and the end. I think perhaps it had something to do with the large amount of vocabulary that was used. The glossary alone was nine pages so following all the terms bogged me down a bit. It is expected in most fantasy novels for this to happen as there are typically many names and terms used in this genre. But even with that in mind I felt that it was a little much. But as I continued to read and become less ignorant of the terminology, the story began to flow much better for me. I thought the end of the book was the best. I enjoyed Lorth’s time in Eusiron and I think the character development was done best here. Lorth’s relationship with the Lady of Eurison, Icaros, Freil, and others, added some dimension to him that made his character come more alive.

The magic system was a little confusing at times but as I said above, once I became more aware of the terms it was much easier to understand. I think maybe some basic descriptions of the terms and magic nuisances at the beginning of the story would have been helpful rather than having the reader constantly flip to the glossary to remind him what a term meant. However I did think the magic system was somewhat unique, which is hard to do in a fantasy book. One thing I was hoping for was more detailed fight scenes. That may be just my own personal preference, but I felt the few scenes where sword work was at play went by too quickly, missing the details that would give me a better understanding of the skill set that Lorth had acquired over the many years of being a successful assassin. I did like Lorth’s talents of being both an assassin skilled with a blade and bow, and a one trained in the use of magic. I thought that was well done and I enjoyed the continuing mental dialogue of Lorth saying, “I’m not a wizard!”

I also liked how F.T. McKinstry tied the beginning scene into the overall plot of the story. That was well done. All in all this was a good read for me. There were times where my focus wavered due to the large amounts of terms and metaphorical writing, and other times where I was impressed with McKinstry’s beautiful poetic style and eagerly waiting to see what happened to Lorth on his adventure.

7/10 I was impressed with McKinstry's beautiful poetic style.

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